Friday, December 27, 2013

Monet, Renoir, Chagall Show Closes Jan 5

The former Cathedrale des Images, now called the Carrières de Lumières (Quarries of Light), is a magical space in a vast cave-like quarry at the base of the village of Les Baux. There in the cool darkness, close to 100 video projectors generate the choreographed movement of 3,000 images over an area of more than 75,000 square feet, onto walls as high as 45 feet, onto the ceilings and even the floor. The sound-and-light show changes roughly once a year and the site is one of the most-popular in Provence.

The current show, called ''Monet, Renoir...Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean'' (top photo) closes January 5. 

The new show (second photo) will be unveiled on March 7. Called "Klimt and Vienna: A Century of Gold and Colours,"  it leads visitors on a journey through 100 years of Viennese painting to the heart of the bright, colorful works of Gustav Klimt, his contemporaries and the artists he inspired. The Klimt show runs until January 4, 2015.

Klimt was one of the great decorative painters who worked on the majestic monuments of the Ringstrasse in imperial Vienna at the end of the 19th century. At the dawn of the new century, he led the Viennese Secession. Gold and other decorative motifs, which are characteristic of Klimt's works--the most famous of which is "The Kiss"--remain a symbol of this artistic revolution. This show presents the distinctive works which brought Klimt his success: his golden period, his portraits and his landscapes. It was designed to offer an original perspective on Klimt and his successors, through portraits, landscapes, nudes, colors and gilding, which revolutionized Viennese painting in the 20th century. 

On the walls of the quarry you'll also see works by Viennese artists such as Schiele and Hundertwasser, who were influenced by Klimt's work. 

A bit of backstory: The Cathedrale des Images closed in 2011 and re-opened as the Carrières de Lumières in early 2012, with new management (the folks at Culturespaces) and new state-of-the-art technology. More than €2 million was spent to refurbish the site. The first show after the re-opening (''Gauguin, Van Gogh: Painters of Color'') drew great reviews and 239,000 people. The current show, ''Monet, Renoir...Chagall" has been an even bigger smash, attracting 360,000 visitors.

The Carrières de Lumières is located in the Val d’Enfer, a stone's throw from Les Baux. The quarry was created over the years for extracting the white limestone used in the construction of the village of Les Baux and its chateau. In 1935, economic competition from modern materials led to the closure of the quarries. Dramatic and otherworldly looking, the area has inspired artists of all sorts; the Val d'Enfer provided the setting for Dante’s Divine Comedy and Gounod created his opera Mireille here. Later, Cocteau came to film The Testament of Orpheus in these very quarries. The Carrières du Val d’Enfer has been awarded Natural Monument status in France. 

The Carrières de Lumières is open for the holiday season everyday (including New Years Eve and New Years Day) from 10 am to 6 pm. (From March to September, hours are 9.30 am to 7 pm.) Tickets range from 5€ to 10€ and kids under 7 are free.

Route de Maillane  
13520 Les Baux de Provence 
Tel. : +33 4 90 54 47 37


  1. What wonderful info, Julie, you are always so on-the-ball with invaluable tips for visitors. Thank you. Love for this season. Jackie & Burton

  2. Well worth a visit. I've seen all the shows and am always amazed. Klimt will be outstanding.

  3. When it was Cathedrale des Images I was able to see two different shows in different years. Marvelous! Best kept secret in Provence! I tell all my friends visiting Provence to try to visit. Thank you for this post.

  4. Thanks Julie for this wonderful information. Wish we were there right now for ''Monet, Renoir...Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean''. Joyeuses Fetes!

  5. I used to spend lots of time in Provence but didn't know about the Cathedrale des Images. It sounds/looks spectacular. Thanks Julie. I'll check it out.

  6. Saw this show twice....Outstanding....they will have a hard time topping it but can't wait for the next one!

  7. Julie, thanks for this … now if I could just beam myself over. This gallery is one we must try to add to our women's tours in June!

  8. Hi, I really like your article.I have also enjoyed your blog and will continue to check in to read your posts. Happy New Year 2014. Thanks



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